**finally, so sorry, a new story is up! no spanking in this one but I think you’ll like it anyway. And if not, who cares. You get what you get ;)**
Gracie couldn’t believe that her week with Sharon was almost up. When she woke up on Friday at 7am sharp, she noticed that her ears felt a little funny and she had a nasty sinus headache. She gave a small cough and reached for the glass of water that Sharon left on her bedside table. Oh no, Gracie thought miserably, a cold or sinus infection.
With another pathetic cough, Gracie rolled out of bed and headed toward the shower, hoping that the hot water and steam would clear the proverbial fog. As good as the shower felt, it didn’t work. Undeterred, Gracie marched toward the kitchen to find Sharon’s tea kettle. Nothing that hot water, honey, and a dash of cayenne couldn’t fix! Sharon entered the kitchen just as Gracie was stirring up her hot concoction.
“Good morning,” Sharon said softly, “What are you up to?”
“Oh,” said Gracie shyly, “I woke up feeling a little stuffy. No big deal. This Chicago weather is no joke, huh?”
Without replying, Sharon walked over to Gracie and gingerly felt her forehead.
“No fever,” said Sharon kindly, “What’s wrong?”
“Easy there, doc,” Gracie joked, backing away with her mug in hand, “Like I said, just a little stuffy. I’m sure it’ll clear up once I’ve had some fluids.”
“Uh huh,” Sharon replied skeptically, wrinkling her nose at the thought of drinking cayenne pepper. “Is that what you drink at home when you’re sick?”
“Yeah, I guess you could call it a family recipe. You’re lucky I didn’t add the whisky.” Gracie ignored Sharon’s raised eyebrows and continued to talk. “We don’t really take sick days in our house. You just sort of chug hot water or tea, throw on a scarf, and go about your business.”
“You should take a sick day when you’re sick,” Sharon replied patiently. “So we’re going to skip the chores for today and you can just veg out on the couch for a little while. It’ll be nice to take a break anyway. Let me make you something for breakfast.”
“No, no!” Gracie replied immediately, “I can totally help cook. I’m fine, really. Like you said, no fever. Haven’t even lost my voice– see, TA DAAA I’M TALKING,” she rambled.
“You spent the entire week whining about doing chores and now you’re begging to scramble eggs while you’re standing here drinking cayenne pepper and looking like hell.” Sharon didn’t look quite annoyed, but she also didn’t seem totally amused.
“I just don’t want to waste one of my last days here,” Gracie explained as she started taking pots and pans out of Sharon’s cupboards. “I go home on Sunday,” she explained as if Sharon had forgotten the week’s schedule.
“This isn’t an argument. Go sit on the couch while I cook. I don’t want you to have to sit on a sore bottom.” Sharon’s narrowed eyes made Gracie retreat rather quickly. She supposed it would be nice to sit down. She’d only been vertical for 30 minutes and was already feeling sleep tug at her eyelids again. Maybe she really was coming down with something…
Gracie sipped her drink and watched the snow fall out of Sharon’s large picture window as her dominant partner scrambled eggs and poured orange juice. She thought about turning on the TV, but she felt too guilty to watch the news while Sharon cooked and cleaned. When Sharon joined her in the living room, she had prepared a tray full of eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice, and green tea; she had also brought Gracie an assortment of zinc tablets, Tylenol, and anti-histamines.
“Is this really necessary?” Gracie asked, poking at the 4 pills like they were actual poison.
“Take them,” Sharon commanded simply, knowing full well that Gracie didn’t have it in her to resist.
Gracie complied, taking the pills with the orange juice, and then attacking her breakfast like she’d never seen a piece of sourdough in her life. While Gracie worked on filling her belly, Sharon turned on Law & Order: SVU. The two women sat in silence watching the crime TV drama.
“I should run to the store for cough syrup,” Sharon announced after the first episode wrapped up.
“Not more medicine,” Gracie groaned, “I’m going to be in a drug-induced haze.” Sharon rolled her eyes.
“Oh please,” she snapped, “Zinc is a supplement, not a medication. You don’t have to keep taking Tylenol if you don’t have a headache, but trust me when I say that you don’t want your throat to get worse.”
“I can come to the pharmacy with you,” Gracie insisted while stifling a yawn, “I want to pick out a good flavor.”
“You’ll choke down the terrible artificial cherry like everyone else. You’re going to stay here and REST.” Sharon emphasized the point by putting a blanket over Gracie and turning down the volume on the TV in case Gracie decided to sleep. As much as Gracie wanted to argue, sleep didn’t seem like such a bad idea.
I’m just going to close my eyes until Sharon gets back from the store, Gracie told her self as she curled up into the comfortable knit blanket. And close her eyes, she did. By the time Gracie woke up, Sharon had already been to the store and back, made chicken soup from scratch for lunch, shoveled the snow, and organized her mail. Gracie scrambled for her phone to check the time– it was almost 1pm and she was just waking back up. WHAT THE HELL.
Gracie threw the blanket off and stomped into the kitchen where Sharon was slicing a loaf of bread that she had clearly baked herself.
“Ahem,” Gracie said to get Sharon’s attention, “You let me sleep half the day away for no reason. I was supposed to shovel the snow today, and it was my turn to make lunch.”
If Sharon was annoyed at Gracie’s little tantrum, she didn’t show it.
“I’m happy to pitch in when you’re sick, sweetheart. You needed the rest.” Sharon placed a bowl of soup in front of Gracie, along with two buttered slices of fresh white bread. Gracie stopped in her tracks when she smelled the soup. It was divine, just like her own mothers’ used to be. And she noticed that her throat was scratchy and irritated again, making her crave the warmth of the chicken broth in front of her. She slid onto a bar stool and dug in, vowing to pitch in with chores later.
But by the time Gracie had slurped the last of the soup, Sharon had already managed to clean up the kitchen and put in a load of laundry. Gracie’s limbs felt heavy and she knew she wouldn’t be able to keep up. Frustrated and tired, she placed her head on the counter in defeat and rubbed her temples. Sharon seemed to appear out of nowhere and began to rub her back.
“It’s ok, sweet girl,” Sharon said soothingly. “I can tell that you hate to slow down. You’re debating on whether you should throw a fit or just let go and let me take care of you. I assure you, the first path is one of pain and misery; the second is preferable by a mile. I think you’ve done really well at mastering the art of obedience and respect. That’s an important part of submission and a skill that will help you a lot back home. But softening enough to let someone else tend to you is the other side of the coin. It’s equally important. You don’t have to take a spanking before letting someone take care of you. You don’t have to earn it. Does this all make sense?”
Gracie felt her heart pound in her chest. Why was this so hard? She almost wanted to push Sharon’s buttons and earn a scolding or a spanking, only so that Sharon would hold her and take care of her all afternoon. But Sharon was offering to do the latter without the former. Why couldn’t Gracie take the bargain?!
“I don’t know,” mumbled Gracie, “I guess I’ve gotten used to being bossed around by you because I don’t have a choice, I guess, but I’m having a hard time voluntarily letting you take care of me.” Sharon took Gracie’s hand.
“I don’t want to have to spank you to get you to be vulnerable. I mean, I can, but I really don’t want to when you don’t feel well. I don’t want to have to overtly dominate you in order to be able to take care of you.” Sharon frowned and sighed.
“I get it,” Gracie replied quietly. “I think I’m still working on accepting that part of the dynamic. But… do you want to snuggle on the couch?” Sharon beamed.
“I would love to hold you!”
With that, Sharon and Gracie collapsed onto Sharon’s sectional and Grace wiggled into Sharon’s open arms. Sharon played with Gracie’s hair and rubbed her back. Gracie felt herself relax into the positive attention. She felt peaceful.
That night, Sharon ordered several containers of greasy, spicy Thai food for them both to enjoy. Gracie didn’t complain about Sharon paying for the food or cleaning up the cartons after they ate as much as they could. Gracie even let Sharon lead her by hand back to the shower where she insisted on Gracie taking a calming rinse with eucalyptus oil. Gracie simply followed Sharon’s instructions– even on the cough syrup– and enjoyed the feeling of being loved and looked after.
When Sharon finally kissed Gracie on the forehead and bid her goodnight, Gracie knew that Sharon was in charge, but that she didn’t need to make Sharon show it by baiting her into a punishment. It was the most painless lesson she’d learned so far.